Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Van Morrison 

What's Wrong With This Picture? (Blue Note)

One of Van Morrison's best albums in years, this is a fitting debut for the legendary crooner on a storied jazz label, as well as a crossover coup effectively targeting the baby-boomer market.

Picture is generous, eclectic, and funky. Morrison doesn't sing rock and roll, he says in the sultry "Goldfish Bowl"; his art, rather, is "folk with a beat," and he's backed by a gang of terrific British players, including clarinetist Acker Bilk and guitarist Mick Green. Morrison's voice is aging extraordinarily well, giving his reading of "Saint James Infirmary" orchestral power and making his fierce rockabilly take on Lightnin' Hopkins' "Stop Drinking" unexpectedly striking.

At first, this album's 13 tunes seem to dwell in the gap between authenticity and performance, which Morrison has tried to figure out and bridge since his days with Them. But as one listens, the subtext becomes clear: What's Wrong With This Picture? is a meditation on the necessity to persevere, to express oneself no matter the genre, and to be true.

Morrison seems to have rediscovered his muse in late middle age, and he's never sounded more committed, authoritative, and funky.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Carlo Wolff

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays